Half a Dozen

Julian,

From now on you’ll need two hands to count your age. Today, my boy, you are six.

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It seems like yesterday that I was nervously lying on a stretcher in an operating room at NYU, taken by surprise that a c-section was necessary to get out that baby I couldn’t wait to meet. Your Papa was whispering nonsensical knock knock jokes into my ear, trying to keep me from being too afraid. He was the first one to hold you, and he held your face close to mine so I could meet you. From the first flutter I felt when you were kicking in my belly, to that miraculous moment when I saw your face so close to mine – to now. In the blink of an eye. Even though I couldn’t imagine I could love you any more than I did that first moment I laid eyes on you, my love for you continues to grow and grow each day.

Mom, Why Do You Have Dad's Camera?

You are amazing.

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At six, let’s see…

You love school. You love it so much. Any worry I might have had about you going to a new school, with new people, all day and every day, well, you showed me. I love dropping you off in the mornings, getting that one last hug and kiss, and then you happily skip down the hall to your classroom. You love math the most, and you are really, really good at it. I don’t know where you get it from, but math is totally your thing. Right now you are working on 2nd grade math books. Most of all, you love it. You also love reading, German, English, Science. Pretty much everything about school. Your reading is excellent. At night, you’ll read book after book to Arthur in your bed. Your spelling is hilarious. I mean…

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Your best person in life is your brother. You have good friends at school who you play with every day, but Arthur is totally your guy. You two are something else. I’ve never seen two people so connected, so in tune with each other, and so happy to be around each other as you two. You play together all day long. Even at bedtime you aren’t tired of each other and will beg us to let you read or play quietly in your room. You are Arthur’s advocate and protector – and of course no one knows how to push his buttons better than you.

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Your next big love, other that math and Arthur, is the NYC Subway. I mean, it’s no secret that you’ve always loved the subway. When you were two, you kept me from getting on the wrong train more than once. Now, at 6, you are teaching yourself all the stops of all the lines. Beverly Road? Sure, you can get us there. You know all the lines, stops, differences, sounds, announcements, quirks. Basically, when riding the train, conversations with you are impossible because you are studying everything at all times. At home, you’ll sit in front of your subway map and trace the stops one by one, learning them all. It’s kind of dorky and adorable.

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This year you’ve grown more into yourself. I think you’re becoming more comfortable with who you are. You know what you like and what you don’t like. You are strong-headed (very!), determined, stubborn, complicated.

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You are also sensitive, kind, strategic, super smart, and overall pretty down to earth and reasonable. You are just a person I like having around. I enjoy talking to you, hanging out with you, hearing your ideas and learning what makes you tick. You’re growing up so fast – and what an honor, what an absolute joy it is that I get to be by your side. It is the greatest gift, the most wonderful blessing in my life.

Happy 6th Birthday, my beautiful boy.

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Arthur at 2 years and 2 months

Basically since the day Arthur officially qualified for speech therapy, he’s made some major strides. He’s yet to actually have a therapy session; so far it’s all been meetings to get things going. The process is a little slow.

Anyway, over the last month he’s gone from basically only saying “mama” and “papa” (as well as several other “words” and sounds that had meaning to him and us but no one else) to basically having more words than I can count at this point. It makes my heart so happy. Good things will come to those who wait.

A month ago, when we asked Arthur to say any given word, he would either reply, “Ba!” or just say no. Now he makes an effort to copy almost anything. It’s so lovely to finally talk with him rather than at him. Julian is so happy about it, too. They will sit forever at the table over lunch or a snack, and Julian will just run lists of words by Arthur and ask him to copy them.

Some of my favorite things Arthur says right now are these:

“Help me.” Imagine this said in little Danny’s voice from The Shining. That’s right. Redrum, Redrum. Arthur’s “help me, help me” sounds just like it. He lowers his voice and keeps repeating the phrase until he is helped. Sometimes I leave him hanging for a bit because I get such a kick out of hearing him say it.

“Minne Minne Paul’s.” He calls Mickey Mouse “Minne.” It kind of turned into a joke where we would all say it randomly and repeatedly for no good reason at all. On our way up to our friend Paul’s lake house, Arthur kept saying “Paul’s house” in anticipation. As soon as we got out of the car and met Paul and his husband, Arthur exclaimed, “Minne Minne Paul’s!” The guys thought he said “menopause.” We’ve been saying it ever since, all day long. It doesn’t get old. Or at least, not yet.

“Jules.” Finally he calls his favorite person in the world something other than “dis.” “Jules” is the first word from Arthur’s lips every morning and I love hearing him call his brother and talk to him all day long.

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“Somewhere over the Rainbow.” He sings this song so well. And so loud. He sings it into microphones, on the subway, and walking all over Brooklyn.

Here are some other fun things Arthur is into these days:

Falling down. Okay, maybe that’s not quite so much fun. But he’s amazing. The other day my mother in law commented on how Arthur got stuck with all the things in our family: the nut allergy, the asthma, the hemangioma on his ear, his speech delay. Julian got nothing, except maybe a temper. But here’s the thing: Arthur may have been given a few things he needs to deal with, but he’s also been blessed with something so much more important: resilience. This kid is literally indestructible. He runs all day long, so much faster than his feet will carry him, because he is trying to keep up with Julian. He falls a few times a day, usually, scraping various body parts. He won’t even stay down long enough for me to help him up, because in his mind he is losing valuable seconds that could help him catch up with his brother. I never make a fuss when he falls, and even if he does whimper, a simple “You’re ok” is always enough. He’s incredible.

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Picnics. Last week I took the boys to buy new rain boots, but I didn’t like the ones they had, so I bought this toy ice cream set instead. It’s been going strong ever since. Arthur loves setting up his favorite stuffed animals, Elmo “Mo”, his “horse”, “Wuff” the dog and of course Minne. He serves them dinner, then ice cream, then reads a book and puts them to bed. Then they get up, and yay! It’s dinner time again. This here is entirely his idea and execution, except I had to “help me, help me” put on Wuffi’s bib. I especially like Elmo’s cheese pizza.

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Playing boats. “Honk honk honk honk!”

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He’s the most independent person. He just comes up with game after game, and ironically, he is often the leader when it comes to games he and Julian play together. Don’t get me wrong, he adores his brother and his every single move, but very often Arthur will pick something to play with or play some sort of pretend game, and Julian will drop whatever he’s doing and join in. I love that their relationship goes both way; it’s not always just one following the other. They both follow, and they both lead. I love getting a glimpse into Arthur’s world in watching the games he plays and the things he says and shows us.

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He is so sweet. The day I get tired of smelling his hair and kissing his cheeks, you might as well shoot me. Every day for the past two years and two months I have fallen more and more in love with our little boy. He is the first one to offer a kiss or a hug. He is really in tune with other people’s feelings.

I love getting him from his crib in the mornings or after nap, because he drapes his body around mine like a blanket and rests his head on my shoulder. He always needs a few minutes to fully wake up.

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Arthur has a serious quivering lower lip when he is scolded. He’s been having a few (serious!) temper tantrums, but he responds really well when I speak to him calmly and explain to him what’s going to happen next. Usually, at least. And he is the sweetest to make up with because (read above!)…the best hugs.

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Oh, Arthur. Never change.

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